Friday, 26 May 2017

Removing the ash

by Yosef Hatzadik (See all authors)

V'dishnu ess hamizbei'ach, And they shall remove the ashes from the Mizbei'ach (7:14)

While traveling in the desert, all the keilim of the Mishkan were covered with designated cloth coverings. The mizbeiach was covered with a covering of purple/indigo died wool. The fire that had decended from Heaven onto the mizbeiach was covered with a copper mold [FYI: shaped like a lion] and miraculously did not burn its covering. The ashes, though, had to be completely removed before placing the covers on the mizbeiach.

Every morning the Kohen had a mitzva of Terumas Hadeshen, a commandment to tithe the ashes, that is, to remove one spadeful of ashes and place it next to the kevesh, the ramp to the mizbeiach. Only when there was too much ash accumulated on the mizbeiach, did the Kohen remove all of the ash.

There is a lesson here for us to learn. On a daily basis, even when we are safe at home, we must be in the mode of continually removing some of our "ash", some of our impurities. It does not have to be done all at once, but as long as we do a bit every day we are on the right track. When we exit our homes, when we go out to the streets, we need to cleanse ourselves some more. We cannot be content with the same levels of shemira & kedusha as when we sit safely ensconced in our Torah'dig homes.